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“Tranquil Retreat Adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage Summer Palace”
Review of Aman Summer Palace

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Aman Summer Palace
Ranked #84 of 6,531 Hotels in Beijing
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 February 2014

The Aman at Summer Palace Beijing offers modern travelers a glimpse into what life was like for visiting dignitaries and guests of Empress Dowager Cixi at the turn of the 20th century. The traditional Chinese architecture is centered around pavilions and a series of courtyards. Our arrival was spectacular with a signature drink and warm greeting. Upon first entry into the lobby, we knew our stay was going to be unique and memorable (see attached picture). Our room was tucked way in the far back corner of the property--along the shared property line with the Summer Palace and right next to the private and secret door entry for the Aman guests. The room was absolutely gorgeous and the usual Aman welcome gifts were fitting for the location! During our stay, we took advantage of every class and event offered on the property. We especially loved the Chinese calligraphy class and the tea tasting events with live traditional music. The restaurant ingredients and service were top notch, and our breakfast experiences among the water pavilion were serene and quiet.

The only difficulty we experienced at the Aman at Summer Palace was with transportation--both on arrival and during our daily adventures in the surrounding areas. In particular, most taxi drivers have no clue that this hotel exists because from the street there is almost no sign that it is a hotel. Additionally, the taxi drivers are thrown off by the fact that the area does not have other hotels and restaurants--which, depending on your preferences, can be peaceful or boring. With this difficulty in mind, we suggest you definitely take the business card with the hotel address and be prepared. In fact, given our difficulties getting home one night (2 hours spent trying to convince multiple taxi drivers to take us back to the Aman, and ultimately having to have some random hotel manager speak to our driver to get us back), when we return to the Aman in the future we plan to hire a car for the nights that we go out on the city.

Overall, the Aman at Summer Palace Beijing is a remarkable property and an absolute must for those travelers interested in an original experience that is far removed from the chaos of downtown Beijing.

Room Tip: The courtyard suites are spectacular and provide more space than you will ever need.
  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank TABridges
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 November 2013

There isn't a hotel as much as it is an experience. Originally a guest compound attached to the Summer Palace, the Aman has been restored and adapted to be pretty much a fantasy destination. For us it began when they picked us up at the airport and we were taken down to our waiting Volvo SUV, which was in a basement level driveway at the end of a marble lined corridor at the airport. (Who knew this existed?) We then went to the Aman, where you pull around the gates into the courtyard and the staff immediately begins taking care of you. The GM has your itinerary ready for your approval or revision (we made changes, not a problem at all) and things are in motion to make your life better in any way possible.

We were given the orientation to the compound, which, to be honest, is way cooler than what you see on the web site. You are staying in an updated traditional Chinese mansion. When you come in, there is someone playing a traditional instrument in a lobby right out of the Qing dynasty and you are being served tea in delicate porcelain cups. And you haven't even checked in yet. Yes, it gets much better.

There are the several courtyards, beautifully laid out, that you walk through to get to your room. Spring for the suite if you can. Ours was the size of a small apartment with 20 ft. ceilings and a forest worth of antique woodwork. There is an underground Olympic sized pool, an amazing gym with great facilities, and and awesome movie theater that you can reserve. There are great restaurants. I highly recommend the Japanese-French fusion restaurant. They do a version of kaseiki cuisine with the multiple courses that was one of the best meals my partner and I have ever had in our lives, including kaseiki meals in Japan. I highly recommend the Discover Beijing package, which includes private tours of the Forbidden City, sights in Beijing, and the Summer Palace with a private driver. Oh, and the spa. Go to the spa. This has to be one of the most indulgent spas anywhere. (You get a spa treatment as part of the Discover Beijing package.)

Finally, there is the very cool part. The Aman has its own entrance directly into the Summer Palace. It's a little nondescript door from the hotel right into the Palace grounds. This is especially great at about 6 a.m., when you can go in there and almost nobody else is around. You get the unique treat of walking around the grounds of the Summer Palace with no crowds and watching the sun rise across the lake. That's the part that is even better than all of the pampering that the Aman does--and you will be pampered.

Room Tip: Spring for the Suite.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank DaveIn703
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2013

We arrived at 10P and were greet by a smiling staff and Tim W. the general manager. This began the realization that we would be enjoying a special place. Never before were we greeted by a hotel GM. He continued to check if all was well and offered any needed assistance to make our stay perfect. When we entered our room, we were breathless with the layout and decor. It was grand to not have a high rise experence. The gardens and courtyard layout of rooms were a much better experience. Every restaurant was excellent. Always happy with our dining and wait staff. We have become advocates of staying at Summer Palace and its sister property, Amanfayun. If you go to Beijing, Aman at Summer Palace, is the only choice.

Room Tip: We are not sure if there is any bad rooms. The court yard layout and extensive landscaping maintain...
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Rocco S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2013

This compound is like no other. It recreates a large Chinese courtyard establishment, used for centuries throughout China on a much smaller and more modest scale. The way it arranges and makes use of space differ from anything known in Western countries. That alone makes Aman Beijing worth your visit. Add to that, the consistency of the traditional Chinese interior decoration, the beauty of many of the rooms, yards, gardens and squares, and three enjoyable restaurants and a tea room. The Japanese and Western restaurants face onto a beautiful pool -- during warm evenings, when the glass doors are open, this provides a unique spatial experience. As Chinese aesthetics are set to influence how we see beauty around the world, this place gives you a window as good as any to what this part of the future holds.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Morten B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 September 2013

Our stay at the aman was really like no other. The location and the surroundings transport you to a different time and the staff ensure that your stay is like no other. We had the morning breakfast tour at the summer palace which is also highly recommendable. You can't go wrong with a stay at this property.

  • Stayed: September 2013
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3  Thank bringm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 September 2013

I hate people that complain about prices. If something is too expensive then don't go there, period.
But I have a complaint of a somewhat different nature: The guided tours are a huge rip-off.
I find it highly inappropriate that a 5-star Hotel is exploiting it's guest in that way. That kills my trust to the Hotel, in turn I cannot enjoy my stay there.
Keep a 15% margin, you earned it. But nearly RMB 5000 for a guided tour to the great wall, that's just fraud.
There is no excuse, I know from experience that guided tours are much less than that. The poor guide did a good job but probably received 100 RMB for the tour (seriously, you can book good guided tours including van and driver for less than 1000 RMB and the guide will be very happy about that).

Other than that, it's just sad that the staff doesn't speak english, as others have mentioned..
You always end up repeating yourself 5 times. E.g. I called the Spa to book an appointment by pressing "1" on the phone, after repeating myself for 3 times the assistant understood but then he just redirected my call to the Spa where I had to explain and repeat myself again, happens all the time.
Housekeeping staff doesn't even know english numbers, so they couldn't show me the way to my room.

Further, it's a pity how small the rooms and suites are. The Resort is huge, there is so much space.. but not in the rooms.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank grkpfl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 September 2013

http://joellemagazine.com/early-morning-winter-walk/2345244

With a small basket of fruits, warm clothes, my camera and the beautiful map , we are heading 6 AM, to the back door of the Aman compound where The Summer Palace, situated at the doorsteps of my courtyard suite nb4 in the northwest suburb of Beijing covers an area of 290 hectares. I understand that the magnificent resort is offering me as a guest, the exclusive privilege to visits the Imperial garden at dawn and enjoy in his magnitude before it actually opens at 8Am for the public.

The West Hill and Jade Spring Hill silhouette against us are neatly visible among lush and tall ancient pines and cypresses , grand palaces and temples Longevity Hill. We are at the North of the Palace and the map is clear.

Halls Pavillons, corridors and towers spread throughout the garden are decorated with fine stone and bronze sculptures. We are now walking on the long Corridor and cross " The gate of dispelling clouds " , "The Pavillon of Mesmerizing Scenery ", " The Pavillon of Harmonizing with the Lake ", and the " Pavillon of Autumn Winter".

The magnificent Tower of Buddhist Incence stands high on the hillside facing south, looking down at the misty and rippling clear water in the Kumming Lake.

It's winter at the Summer Palace and the lake that covers about three quarters of the Imperial palace, is totally iced. They say Summer is the high season, but let me tell you the scenery is extremely romantic representing for some locals one of there celestial islands of East Sea China and a fairyland.

Originally built in 1750 by the emperor Qianlong to celebrate his mother's birthday, The Summer Palace was used at the time as a pleasure garden for emperors and empresses.

Appraised as the most perfectly preserved imperial garden with the richest man-made scenery and the most concentrated architecture in the world. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization in 1988 and has become a park of high culture value for tourists and a treasure of human civilization.

We are at the " Hall of Nourishing Pleasures" not far away from the "Hall of Benevolence and Longevity ". Walking in silence is a whimsical, magic and peaceful dream experience never felt before.

Finally in the small alley of the Aman property, like in Alice in Wonderland, a the small door opens after our bell ringing: and a small young man wearing dark glasses appears with a basket of warm towels and says in a perfect English with a touch of Chinese pronunciation " Your breakfast is waiting for you... How did you like your Imperial promenade?

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Joelle M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Aman Summer Palace

Address: No.1 Gongmenqian Street, Yiheyuan, Haidian District | Summer Palace, Beijing 100091, China
Region: China > Beijing > Zhongguancun
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #84 of 6,531 Hotels in Beijing
Price Range: £334 - £846 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Aman Summer Palace 5*
Number of rooms: 51
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Just steps from the East Gate of the Summer Palace grounds lies Aman at Summer Palace - the ideal location from which to discover Beijing. Housed in a series of pavilions, the resort is only 15km from the Forbidden City. A serene retreat, the property provides easy access to such cultural landmarks as the Great Wall, The Temple of Heaven and the hutongs, as well as Beijing's restaurants, art galleries and other contemporary delights. ... more   less 
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